Sir James Dunn Hall has been busier than normal these past few weeks.
There are construction workers moving equipment in and out of the doors, Tim Hortons customers waiting for their coffees and a new room filled with students on big, black leather chairs or extra-tall stools.
President Dawn Russell’s plan to create a home for off-campus students has been a success, said communications director Jeffrey Carleton.
“We’ve got a significant segment of our population that are off campus students, whether they’re living at home or living in an apartment off campus,” Carleton said. “So, President Russell has made a real focus in finding a space for those students on campus. You see that manifested whether it’s the new aboriginal resource center, new student lounge or the new renovations and changes to Tim’s and Subway. It’s to give more options and a stronger learning and social environment as possible for those students who are off campus students.”
The new lounge was completed before Welcome Week started and was used during the events.
Colin Leahy, an off-campus representative, said the new lounge was a great place for off-campus students to meet during Welcome Week.
“The lounge has been nothing short of amazing so far this week,” Leahy said. “A central, comfortable, large area was needed in order to greet all our new first years and the lounge fits that description perfectly.”
Leahy says now that Welcome Week is over the lounge will not only be helpful to first years but to all off-campus students.
“I believe OC’s sense of identity and pride is definitely heightened this year due to our new space. It has always been on the OC committee’s wish list to have a space like this,” Leahy said. “All in all the space is exactly what OC needed in order to come together and be the great community we’ve always had the potential to be.”
Students will have access to more food options this fall as well.
Carleton said earlier in the summer the university renewed their food services agreement with Aramark. As a result, there has been a number of changes including the upgraded Tim Hortons facility and the new Subway franchise.
Tim Hortons was completed in time for the first day of classes on Thursday morning. Carleton says Tim’s has expanded to accommodate for its popularity on campus.
Renovations to Tim Hortons and Subway started on Aug. 12, but Subway will not be completed until October.
“The Subway work is part of the renewed contract with Aramark and the thinking behind that is to offer students more options and different options in a different location,” said Carleton.
Aramark staff will be trained by Subway to operate the new food venue efficiently.
Students are already hyped about the new additions, especially the new lounge.
“The three or four times I’ve been in there it has always been filled with students,” said Carleton.
Although the new student lounge was completed for Welcome Week, there will be an official opening on Sept. 20. Students are welcome to attend this small event to celebrate the new addition to JDH. The donor who made the student lounge possible will be announced at this event as well.
Carleton said JDH has been revitalized.
“It’s not a new building but it’s taking the facilities that we have now and taking them and upgrading them to fit the students’ needs,” said Carleton.
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